What to Look For When Buying a Used Car

January 13th, 2023 by

Buying a used vehicle is more prudent than purchasing a brand new model. You can save a ton of money by avoiding the rapid depreciation rate of new cars. Did you know a brand new car can lose as much as 30% of its original value in the first year?

However, when buying used cars in Janesville, you need to know what you’re looking for. After all, used or not, a car is still a major investment. If you’re like most people, you’ll need to take out a loan and commit to monthly payments.

Check out our used car buying guide for everything you need to know about buying a pre-owned vehicle.


First, you need to think about your monthly and yearly budgets. As noted above, you will save a ton of money by searching for “quality used cars near me.”

The question is, how much can you afford to spend each month on loan payments? However, you also need to ensure you’re qualified to take out the loan. Fortunately, you can get approved online to see where your car credit stands.

Finally, consider all of the other costs involved in owning a vehicle. You must also consider:

Auto insurance
Dive into your monthly cash flow to find out how much you can comfortably afford to spend.

Seller Credibility

Choosing the right seller is next on our car buying guide. You need to make sure the party you’re buying the vehicle from is a credible seller.

While you can save money by buying from a private party, there’s no guarantee or safety net for your purchase. If the car breaks down a few days later, there’s no certainty that you can get your money back. In other words, buyer beware.

We recommend buying from a trustworthy used car dealership that has a positive reputation in the community. Dealerships are held to a higher standard because they are a local business governed by the state. They also have in-house mechanics who can give the vehicle a once-over before you buy it.


If you’re looking for the best used cars in Janesville, you also need to think about the mileage of the vehicle you’re buying. More mileage means lower price tags. However, the more miles a vehicle has on it, the more maintenance it’s going to need.

That being said, don’t shy away from a vehicle that has a lot of mileage. If it was properly maintained, it should run smoothly and be just as reliable as a newer model.

Vehicle History Report

This is where vehicle history reports fit into our used car buying guide. Whether you’re buying from a car dealer in Janesville or taking a chance on a private seller, you must get your hands on the vehicle history report.

A vehicle history report tracks a car from the day it leaves the manufacturer. It records vital information, such as:

Previous owners
Previous registration locations
Major accidents/damages
Maintenance history
Major repairs
Commercial use history (fleet vehicles, rentals, leases)
And more.
When buying used cars in Janesville, the vehicle history report will give you a pretty good view of the car’s past.

Driver Reviews

Before settling on a car, take some time to do a little research. Find a few models you like at the local car dealer in Janesville and find driver reviews online. Make sure you note the exact year and model of the vehicle you’re interested in.

Do other drivers enjoy driving the vehicle? Does it handle intuitively and drive smoothly? Are there any recurring issues reported by the drivers?

Most importantly, use driver reviews to determine if the vehicle will be safe and reliable for you and your family.

Form and Function

Once you find “quality used cars near me,” you need to think about the right type of vehicle for your lifestyle. After all, if you will primarily use the car for getting back and forth to work in the city, buying a jacked-up pickup truck probably isn’t a good idea.

However, if you enjoy outdoor recreational activities, you’ll need a rugged vehicle to suit your hobbies. For example, if you like boating and camping in a trailer, you’ll need a vehicle that can tow that equipment.

Finally, think about your family. If you have young children, you’ll need a vehicle that has plenty of space and comfort for driving your kids around.

This is especially important if you plan to take family road trips. Having kids on a long drive is hard enough, but it’s even more of a challenge if there isn’t enough room for everyone.

The Test Drive

When looking at cars for sale in Janesville, it’s easy to fall in love with a vehicle based on its looks, features, and performance statistics. However, it’s imperative to test drive a vehicle before you drive it.

First, you need to make sure all of the components of the vehicle function properly. This includes all of the electronics, heating, cooling, gauges, and driver assistance features.

Just as importantly, ensure that you actually enjoy driving the car. We all make assumptions about how a vehicle will operate. It’s possible you will be let down by the real experience.

Verify the Vehicle’s Condition

Finally, when shopping for quality cars for sale, it might be a good idea to have the vehicle checked out by your mechanic. This is vital when buying from a private seller. They will be more likely to hide an issue from potential buyers.

Ask the seller if you can test drive the car and have an hour or so with it to get it inspected. If they say no, it might mean that they’re trying to hide something.

Most dealerships have in-house mechanics. There’s no reason you can’t request an inspection before you sign the contract.

Looking for a Car Dealer In Janesville?

As you can see, there are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for used cars in Janesville. We hope our car buying guide helps you find the best possible used vehicle for you and your family.

And if you’re ready to start test driving, we would love to help. We provide easy loans for cars, regardless of your auto credit in Janesville. Take a look at our used inventory or give us a call at 608-531-1600.

Posted in Car Buying Tips